The Rescue of Prometheus

LCU  WAR 360 Report

RE:    *{Real vs Imaginary Threats}
*(Reminds me of the plot in my own novel, Life at the Center of the Universe)

U.S. releases secret nuclear list accidentally?

"The International Atomic Energy Agency in
Vienna is a unit of the United Nations whose mandate is to enforce a
global treaty that tries to keep civilian nuclear programs from
engaging in secret military work.

recent years, it has sought to gain wide adherence to a set of strict
inspection rules, known formally as the additional protocol. The rules
give the agency powerful new rights to poke its nose beyond known
nuclear sites into factories, storage areas, laboratories, schools, and
anywhere else that a nation might be preparing to flex its nuclear
muscle. The United States signed the agreement in 1998 but only
recently moved forward with its implementation. Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the
Natural Resources Defense Council, a private group in Washington that
tracks atomic arsenals, called the document harmless. “It’s a better
listing than anything I’ve seen” of the nation’s civilian nuclear
complex, he said. “But it’s no national-security breach. It confirms
what’s already out there and adds a bit more information.”

Researched by W A R 3 6 0:
To learn more about nuclear weapons, visit Trinity Atomic Web Site at:

"Project TRINITY was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. The plutonium-fueled implosion

device was detonated on a 100-foot tower at 0530 hours, 16 July 1945. The test, which occurred
on the Alamogordo Bombing Range in south-central New Mexico, had a nuclear yield
equivalent to the energy released by exploding 21 kilotons of TNT. It left a depression in the
desert 2.9 meters deep and 335 meters wide (1: 1,23).
People as far away as Santa Fe and El Paso saw the brilliant light of the detonation. Windows
rattled in the areas immediately surrounding the test site, waking sleeping ranchers and townspeople.
 To dispel any rumors that might compromise the security of this first nuclear test,
the Government announced that an Army munitions dump had exploded. However, immediately
after the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945, the Government revealed to the public
what had actually occurred in the New Mexico desert (1: 33).
Nearly 6 years passed between the detonation of TRINITY at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on 16
July 1945, and the next CONUS nuclear test, ABLE of the RANGER series. The AEC had
considered establishing a continental test site in 1948 after SANDSTONE, as a way to reduce
construction and logistic costs, but rejected the idea after concluding that the physical problems
and domestic political concerns would be too complicated. When the Korean War began in the
summer of 1950, however, the AEC doubted that the Pacific could be used for nuclear weapons
testing because of the possibility of the Korean War expanding throughout the Far East, thus
endangering shipping lanes. On 13 July 1950, the AEC Chairman wrote the Chairman of the
Military Liaison Committee that the possibility of a national emergency required a joint effort by
the AEC and DOD to find a continental test site. The DOD agreed, and the search began for a
suitable site.
The AEC and DOD surveyed six sites within the continental United States before choosing the
Frenchman Flat area of the Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range, renamed the Nellis Air
Force Range in 1956."
In 1949, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb, providing the impetus for the United
States to proceed with development of a bomb whose energy would come from the fusion, or
joining, of light elements. Such a weapon is also called a thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bomb.
The Atomic Energy Commission received Presidential approval for work in this area in January
1950 after lengthy debate in high defense circles over the feasibility and advisability of such
weapons (7: 21).
As the defense policy evolved in the early 1950s, two particular factors challenged the ability of
U.S. Armed Forces to defend American interests and to protect its allies during limited
·  The commitment of U.S. ground forces to the Korean peninsula
·  The inability of European allies of the U.S. to develop effective military capabilities.
In both cases, the United States experienced difficulties because of limitations in military
manpower, which emphasized the need for a new U.S. policy based not on large standing armies,
but on new technological advances, particularly in nuclear weapons (9: 25).
In 1951, the Chairman of the AEC strongly advocated the development of nuclear weapons for
tactical purposes. "We could," he asserted, "use an atomic bomb today in a tactical way against
enemy troops in the field, against military concentrations near battle areas and against other vital
military targets without risk to our own troops."
TUMBLER-SNAPPER was accordingly
designed both to advance the development of effective nuclear weapons and to train troops in
tactical nuclear warfare (9: 25).

The Shot, as witnessed aboard the various vessels at sea, is not easily described.
Accompanied by a brilliant light, the heat wave was felt immediately at distances of
thirty to thirty-five miles. The tremendous fireball, appearing on the horizon like the sun
when half-risen, quickly expanded after a momentary hover time and appeared to be
approximately a mile in diameter before the cloud-chamber effect and scud clouds
partially obscured it from view. A very large cloud-chamber effect was visible shortly
after the detonation and a tremendous conventional mushroom-shaped cloud soon
appeared, seemingly balanced on a wide dirty stem. Apparently, the dirty stem was due
to the coral particles, debris, and water which were sucked high into the air. Around the
base of the stem, there appeared to be a curtain of water which soon dropped back around
the area where the island of Elugelab [Eluklab] had been.

Except for one PROJECT 57 test, the safety experiments were conducted for the same purpose:
to determine the weapons’ susceptibility to nuclear detonation during accidents in storage and
transportation. High-explosive portions of these devices were fired to simulate accidental
detonation and to determine the potential for such firings to result in a significant nuclear yield.
The test results were used to develop devices that could withstand shock, blast, fire, and
accidents without initiating a nuclear chain reaction and producing a nuclear detonation. The
initial PROJECT 57 test was conducted to spread alpha-emitting material (plutonium) in a
defined area to study the biological effects of alpha radiation and to test monitoring and
decontamination procedures (22: 23,8).

DOD personnel participation during these experiments is difficult to determine. Although most
of the employees of LANL and LLNL were civilians, some DOD personnel also were assigned to
these organizations. In addition, some of the project activities engaged DOD participation.
Eight AFSWC personnel and two participants from the 50th Chemical Service Platoon
performed field work for one of the programs during PROJECT 57, the alpha-dispersion
experiment. Moreover, a DOD effects project was conducted at four of the safety experiments.
Other DOD participation involved cloud-tracking and cloud-sampling missions.

From the earliest days of nuclear research and nuclear weapons testing, scientists were aware of
the potential for peaceful applications of nuclear energy, including nuclear detonations. This
recognition became U.S. policy in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which stated that "atomic
energy is capable of application for peaceful as well as military purposes." The opportunity for
American scientists to apply nuclear detonations to peaceful ends was delayed, however, by
several factors, including the greater priority of developing efficient weapons applications,
concern over radioactive contamination, and international suspicion of the intent of the research.
Nevertheless, the AEC ultimately succeeded in initiating the PLOWSHARE Program, which had
been planned in the late 1950s (25: 19,17,18).
The PLOWSHARE detonations were designed to determine nonmilitary applications of nuclear
explosives. The primary potential use envisioned was in large-scale geographic engineering, in
such projects as canal, harbor, and dam construction, the stimulation of oil and gas wells, and
mining. GNOME was planned in part to provide information on the characteristics of an
underground nuclear detonation in a salt medium, while SEDAN was to extend knowledge on
cratering effects from detonations with yields of 100 to 200 kilotons. Considering the peaceful
objectives of PLOWSHARE,
 the AEC took the name of the program from the Bible:
 "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares" (Isaiah 2:4)

The ultimate goal of PLOWSHARE, the peaceful applications of nuclear explosives, was never
realized. The limited test ban treaty, signed on 5 August 1963 in Moscow, ended nuclear testing
in the atmosphere, on land, and underwater, although not underground. Hence, a number of the
PLOWSHARE experiments had to be canceled. Other contributing factors were changes in
national priorities, Government and industry disinterest in the program, public concern over the
health and safety aspects of using nuclear detonations for civil applications, and shortages of
funding (25: 26).

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